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On This Day: April 7

Aviation events for April 7

1906: Charles Rolls, in his new balloon, races Frank Hedges Butler and friends aboard the Aero Club III. Rolls outdistances his opponents, who come down at Wimbledon, while he lands at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England.
1908: The members of the Aerial Experiment Association enter a competition sponsored by the Scientific American, which has offered $25,000 for a flight of over 0.62 miles. The Wrights refuse to enter because the rules state the airplane must take off without help.
1922: The first Corps Observation Group, under the command of Col. William Mitchell, makes its first patrol, led by Maj. Ralph Royce, and thus becomes the first American squadron to go into action in Europe.
1922: The first midair collision of commercial airliners takes place over Thieuloy-Saint-Antoine, Picardie, France between a Farman F.60 (F-GEAD) and a de Havilland DH-18 (G-EAWO). At a height of about 500ft in rainy weather, the two aircraft end up on a collision course with no time to evade each other. The Dash-18 loses its tail and a wing, while the Farman survives for a short while before also crashing. All seven people among the two aircraft die, including a young steward who initially survives the wreck, but succumbed to his injuries afterward.
1957: A Varig Curtiss C-46 Commando (PP-VCF) crashes shortly after takeoff due to a fire in the left main gear wheel well. The pilot thought it was one of the engines, and shut it down unnecessarily. A go-around during a landing attempt when the gear doesn’t drop (due to the fire), allows more time for the fire to spread, leading to the left wing separating from the aircraft after the metal fatigue. All 40 aboard the aircraft perish.
1958: AREA Ecuador Flight 222, a Douglas C-47 (DC-3) registered HC-ACL, crashes into a Chugchilan range of mountains after not maintaining the proper heading, resulting the fatalities of all 32 aboard.
1959: Radar 1st bounced off Sun from Stanford, California
1967: First flight of the SA.340, prototype of the Aérospatiale Gazelle.
1968: Luna 14 - USSR Lunar Probe launched. Luna 14 is in a lunar-solar orbit.
1983: STS-6, using space Shuttle Challenger, launches. The mission is the first perform to a spacewalk.
1992: Azerbaijan Airlines is founded.
1994: FedEx Flight 705, a DC-10-30 (N306FE) experiences an attempted hijacking from a deadheading pilot, wanting to die in a plane crash so that his family could collect his life insurance. Using hammers to attempt to incapacitate the crew, take over the aircraft and possibly even crash the aircraft into FedEx headquarters, the crew fought vigorously after both the First Officer and Flight Engineer receive a fractured skulls. First Officer Tucker uses severely evasive maneuvers and near supersonic speed to throw off the attacker. Captain Sanders eventually takes over controls after the F/O becomes incapacitated and lands the aircraft at a very high speed while the aircraft is very heavy with fuel and cargo. All three pilots receive awards for heroism, and to this day have not received medical approval to fly again.
1994: TAGG Angola L-100 (C-130) D2-THC catches fire while taxiing to a parking spot due to overheated brakes in Malengue, Angola. All 4 occupants escaped unharmed.
1999: Turkish Airlines Flight 5904, a Boeing 737-400 on a ferry flight to Saudi Arabia, crashes in poor weather shortly after departure. It is suspected that the pitot static anti-ice system was not activated, creating false airspeeds that led to the deaths of all 6 on-board.
2001: The robotic spacecraft Odyssey launches on its mission to orbit Mars, arriving at the planet the following October. The craft later collects data that would guess water to be on the plant. This is later confirmed by the Phoenix lander in July of 2008.

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